The past year I have been working on really getting back into running. Believe it or not, I was quite the runner in high school. Sure, I was never the fastest, but that never matters to me. Freshman year of high school I joined the track team to fulfill my PE credit for my school. Next thing I knew I was roped into running cross country the next fall during my sophomore year. There were some practices that we did an impressive amount of mileage. We were running anywhere between 3 and 12 miles each practice. Races were every week or every other week. Practices were every day of the week from summer to when the season ended in late fall.
While physically I was the thinnest and strongest I have ever been during those seasons, I can tell you without a doubt, I was not healthy. Overlapping that time period I was working to be mentally healthy, and that period of time, I was at a low point. I was unhappy with many aspects of my life including my appearance despite being in great physical shape. I ran out of obligation. I didn't enjoy it. I enjoyed being with my friends on the team but dreaded our races and practices.
On and off during my time on the teams I sustained a few injuries and between those and refocusing on priorities, I decided it was time for me to quit the team. I then focused more on academics and music, the two things I was passionate about and knew that I wanted to continue in college. At this point overall I was healthy and doing well mentally.
Fast forward to college when I decided to get back into running. I discovered that running on my own time was far more enjoyable than the practices I remembered from high school. I started slow and didn't have any intention to try to speed up my mile times to what they were in high school. I was doing this for me.
I ran over chemistry tests when I was still pumped with adrenalin from a 2.5-hour exam. I ran between homework assignments to clear my head. I ran to the music building to get a short run in on my way to do something I had to do anyway. The important part was that running in college was something positive for me. Yes, it hurt sometimes and my knees still give me problems, but running was more of a choice rather than an obligation. It is something I get to do rather than another thing I have to check off in my planner.
While I am still nowhere close to my high school milage, I am very happy with the progress that I have made in my running on my own in college. This is something that I plan on continuing throughout the year and into the summer (even though running in the summer heat is one of the worst things imaginable in Georgia). Here's to more miles and great running playlists!